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Friday, May. 24, 2019
Rilley Dube catches on with West Virginia Tech
by Randy Pascal

"The road was paved for me - I just had to follow it."

For 17 year-old Sudbury baseball prospect Rilley Dube, that road will now lead from northern Ontario to Beckley, West Virginia.

A grade 12 student at Ecole Secondaire catholique l'Horizon, Dube committed recently to attending West Virginia University Institute of Technology, joining the Golden Bears in River States Conference competition beginning in 2018-2019.

"It was like a perfect storm," said Dube. During his playing days, local coach Jean-Gilles Larocque had attended West Virginia State University. One of his assistant coaches, Lawrence Nesselrodt, is now the head coach at WVT.

"It worked out perfect that they were looking for catchers," Dube added. "They also specialize in engineering programs, and that's what I wanted to pursue." Incoming Laurentian University bench boss Brodie Jeffery suggested there is reason for optimism in believing that Dube can contribute with the Golden Bears.

"He's just a really, really good kid," stressed Jeffery. "He works harder than most of the kids in our academy, he's very coachable. He has the ability to hit, at that level, I think, in the middle of the order. He's definitely a kid who, even if he doesn't play in his first year, he will still work hard. He will ask his coaches what he needs to do to get better."

Having also taken a shot, State-side, during his own playing days, Jeffery knows this is as much about trying to capitalize when the opening is presented. "He needs to put a little weight on," said Jeffery. "He has a chance to hit in the middle of the order, but he will have to hit a lot more doubles and home runs to fulfill that."

"They will give him the opportunity to fulfill that, and he's the type of kid that will take those opportunities and run with them." It is that exact approach that has served Dube well, to this point, compensating for a lack of jaw-dropping natural athleticism through practice time and effort, maximizing the talent that he has.

"I really don't think you can move up through the ranks, in baseball, without working on absolutely everything," said Dube. "But if I had to pinpoint one thing, it's the mental side of the game. It's not always talked about a lot, but it's something that Jean-Gilles put a lot of importance on."

Dube is not about to kid himself. The commitment that has been required to get to this point only increases ten fold as he looks to become a factor within the West Virgina Tech baseball lineup.

"I don't like talking about myself a lot, but I honestly think I have a really good work ethic," he stated. "I will always give it my all. I guess you could say I have a bit of talent. Defensively, I'm pretty happy with where I am at, right now, because of the work that I did in the off-season."

"But as a catcher, I think defence is super important. It's one of those positions where they will let the offense lag behind, because of the defence." Dube has not been alone, in terms of Sudbury and area baseball folks expanding their impact in the sport, recently.

Coach Jeffery, for his part, had just returned from the Junior Sunbelt Baseball Classic in McAlster, Oklahoma, more solid preparation as he readies to the his L.U. Voyageurs into OUA action for the first time this fall.

"I got the opportunity to coach with one of the Team Canada coaches, and a couple of other coaches who have been around the game a long, long time," said Jeffery, serving as an assistant coach with Team Ontario. "I was basically the guy who just listened and learned from them. It was a good experience for me to be around good baseball people."

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